Photovoice Exhibition and International Human Rights Day Commemorative Activity

WHER Initiative conducted a Photovoice exhibition on the 16th of December 2018 in commemoration of the annual International Human Rights Day celebrated every 10th December. The purpose of this event is to create an avenue for LBQ women to gain knowledge on culture, human rights and sexuality and to tell the stories of violations experienced by LBQT women across Nigeria.

The event was attended by 37 participants. The occasion was centred on the need for people to stand against violations and injustice of the rights of everyone regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. It also reflected on what culture says about human rights, and the universality of culture was discussed in detail as it relates to sexuality as well as human rights. 10 photographs of LBQT persons were exhibited and participants took time to reflect on their stories of human rights violations

SISTER 2 SISTER SUPPORT SERVICES PROJECT

As part of the Sister 2 Sister Support Services project, we provide basic counselling, psychosocial support, and mental health education to LBQ women in Nigeria. Trained peer counsellors who volunteered their time and effort held support group meetings in Abuja, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Calabar and topics that were discussed ranged from anger management, anxiety disorder to menstrual health hygiene. WHER has held a total of 41 support group meetings with seventy-nine (79) LBQ women reached. WHER has also reached four hundred and thirty-three (433) LBQ women through her mental health education which were done virtually. Below is the breakdown of cities and topics discussed at each session.

 

S/No. DATE NAME OF SUPPORT GROUP LOCATION TOPIC NO. OF PERSONS IN ATTENDANCE
1. JANUARY:

– 27th January 2019

 

 

 

– 26th January 2019

 

 

 

– 12th January 2019

 

 

– 31st January 2019

 

– Love is Love support group

 

 

– PH sister support group

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Abuja

 

 

 

– Port Harcourt

 

 

– Owerri

 

 

– Calabar

 

– Anger management

 

 

– Anxiety disorder

 

 

– Youth culture

 

– Maintaining a healthy relationship

 

2 counsellors, 9 women, 2 newcomers

 

2 counsellors, 9 women, 2 newcomers

 

2 counsellors, 7 women

 

1 counsellor, 13 women

2. FEBRUARY:

– 13th February 2019

 

 

 

– 28th February 2019

 

 

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Owerri

 

 

 

– Calabar

 

– Rape and sexual assault awareness

 

– Ways to keep your dealings and relationship with other community members and the larger community

 

2 counsellors, 8 women

 

 

1 counsellor, 11 women

3. MARCH:

– 23rd March 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

– 29th March 2019

 

– PH sister support group

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Port Harcourt

 

 

 

 

 

– Calabar

 

– Challenges in a relationship and how they can be overcome

 

– Ways to encourage community participation in ensuring that LBQ women who have faced any form of violence or abuse receive every necessary care that can keep them away from falling into depression

 

2 counsellors, 10 women

 

 

 

 

 

1 counsellor, 14 women

4. APRIL:

– 20th April 2019

 

 

 

– 22nd April 2019

 

 

 

 

 

– 24th April 2019

 

– Love is Love support group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Abuja

 

 

 

– Owerri

 

 

 

 

 

– Calabar

 

– Eating disorders

 

 

– How to calm down when you are stressed and anxious

 

– The role of LBQ women and girls in Cross River in ensuring that there is a boost in the number of LBQ women and girls who access counselling and paralegal services offered by WHER initiative

 

2 counsellors, 13 women, 8 newcomers

 

2 counsellors, 8 women

 

 

 

 

1 counsellor, 14 women

5. MAY:

– 18th May 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– 22nd May 2019

 

 

 

– 22nd May 2019

 

– PH sister support group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Port Harcourt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Owerri

 

 

 

– Calabar

 

– (1) Relaxation and its advantages (2) Grief, causes and ways of coping

 

– Relaxation and stress

 

 

– Relaxation and stress

 

2 counsellors, 8 women, 1 newcomer

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 counsellors, 7 women, 2 newcomers

 

1 counsellor, 13 women

6. JUNE:

– 2nd June 2019

 

 

 

– 22nd June 2019

 

 

– 22nd June 2019

 

 

 

– 22nd June 2019

 

– Love is Love support group

 

 

 

 

 

– PH sister support group

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Abuja

 

 

 

– Owerri

 

 

– Port Harcourt

 

 

– Calabar

 

– Social anxiety disorder

 

– Grief

 

 

– (1) Grief (2) How to cope with grief

 

– Grief

 

2 counsellors, 9 women, 5 newcomers

 

2 counsellors, 8 women

 

2 counsellors, 10 women, 1 newcomer

 

1 counsellor, 14 women

7. JULY:

– 2nd July 2019

 

 

 

– 27th July 2019

 

 

– 26th July 2019

 

– Love is Love support group

 

 

– PH sister support group

 

 

 

 

– Abuja

 

 

 

– Port Harcourt

 

– Owerri

 

– Trauma

 

 

 

– Trauma

 

 

– Trauma

 

2 counsellors, 7 women, 2 newcomers

 

2 counsellors, 10 women

 

2 counsellors, 8 women

8. AUGUST:

– 11th August 2019

 

 

 

– 31st August 2019

 

 

– 17th August 2019

 

 

– 2nd August 2019

 

– Love is Love support group

 

 

– PH sister support group

 

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Abuja

 

 

 

– Port Harcourt

 

– Owerri

 

 

– Calabar

 

– Communication in a relationship

 

– Suicide

 

 

– Suicide

 

 

– Trauma

 

2 counsellors, 30 women, 22 newcomers

 

1 counsellor, 12 women

 

2 counsellors, 9 women

 

1 counsellor, 12 women

9. SEPTEMBER:

– 22nd September

 

 

 

– 9th September

 

 

 

 

 

– Trailblazer support group

 

– Owerri

 

 

 

– Calabar

 

– Communication in relationship

 

– Suicide

 

2 counsellors, 12 women

 

 

1 counsellor, 14 women, 2 newcomers

 

 

Self-Care During Quarantine

In these COVID-19 times, we understand that it is easy to lose yourself in the fear and frenzy of the pandemic. This fear makes you anxious and anxiety can lead to depression and other mental health issues.

Please try not to panic and focus on the positives: like, the recovery rate which is higher than the death rate. Also, indulge in some self-care techniques which have been tried and found effective. For those that work well with plans and schedules, you can create a self-care calendar.

This self-care calendar will include something that you will do daily to ensure that your mind and body are well taken care of. Below are some essential self-care tips that will help you to stay sane in these climes.

  1. Meditation and or Yoga: These will help to centre your mind and body and dispel any negative feelings. It also helps to relax one and it is almost like a sleeping pill for those with insomnia.
  2. Reducing how much time you spend on social media: There is so much information but facts and lies on the internet these days. Reducing how much you interact with said information can go a long way in keeping you away from anxiety.
  3. Checking in on friends and family: Many times, we forget to check on some friends and family members as a result of our busy schedules. Now is the time to check up on everyone and know how they are faring.
  4. Learning something new every day: Online courses, blogs, essays and theses are a great source of educating yourself. Now is the time to acquire a new skill. Come out of quarantine as a guru in a field that you are interested in.
  5. Maintaining a good sleep routine: Knowing how easy it is to mess up your sleep pattern in these times, the discipline has to be applied in this area. Try to maintain a healthy sleep routine and ensure to get enough rest.
  6. Regular exercise: Working out for 30 minutes in the mornings or evenings offer a wide range of benefits to the body and mind. In these times, with enough time in our hands, we can be more fit than ever!
  7. Healthy eating: We recognise that in the absence of activity, it is easy to get carried away and overindulge in food. Please do your best to ensure that you don’t over eat or binge on junk as it does no good for the body. Try to eat as many fruits and vegetables as possible as boosts the immune system.

 

Dealing with Anxiety While Social Distancing

The outbreak of the COVID-19 has increased the level of anxiety among all of us. Everyone is worried about the virus and wondering if they are already infected with the virus without knowing it.

The stressors of the average person have increased because everyone is worried about their health and the health of their loved ones. Due to the self-isolation mechanism to curb the spread of the virus, our eating and sleeping pattern has changed. Also, a lot of people have turned to unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress like alcohol, tobacco and various substances, therefore, increasing their anxiety.

 However, there are various healthy ways to cope with stress like taking a break from watching, listening or reading the news on coronavirus. This also includes reducing the time spent on bloggers sites and platforms which can contain a lot of fake and unverified news.

Another form of coping with stress and anxiety is by taking care of the body. This involves eating healthy, exercising regularly and practising deep breathing.

Self-isolation should not be a prison sentence, take out time and do things you enjoy like seeing a movie, reading a novel or baking a cake.

To ensure you don’t cause both yourself and others to get anxious avoid spreading fake news or unverified news and information to others. When you spread verified facts, you help keep people properly informed.

Do things with your family. Look at the whole experience as a bonding opportunity with family. Play indoor games engage in quiz and dance competition with your family. The important message is to practice togetherness while isolating.

Writing helps some people cope with anxiety. If writing is your thing, you could start a journal and document your quarantine journey. You could also use this opportunity to learn a foreign language or a new skill.

Engage in self-care by cleaning out your closet, enjoying a relaxing shower, learning yoga or even giving yourself a facial.

Finally, you can care for other people too by reaching out either by calling or texting. you can also reach out to people who do not have cannot afford shelter or care like the homeless people. You can assist them with vitamins, masks, gloves and food “from a distance”.